While across the country and around the world many COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted, lingering changes from the pandemic remain in place. For some, working from home has become the new normal, as some businesses have shuttered office doors forever, making employees permanently remote. For others, the pandemic has spurred changes to the way they interact with others, from social distancing to increased hygiene habits, and for some, the pandemic has brought on cases of anxiety and depression which may linger for many years beyond the pandemic.
These cases are not isolated, and in the case of oral health problems, survey after survey has shown that many dentists are noticing an increase in oral health problems during the pandemic. If you aren’t feeling quite yourself these days, you’re not alone. These feelings are normal, but they could carry with them dangerous oral health side effects.
When we are stressed out, we often do things without realizing we are doing them, such as twirling our hair, biting our nails, or grinding our teeth. These normal stress responses can sometimes be harmless, but in some cases (like with nail biting and teeth grinding) they can be very dangerous to our oral health.
Teeth grinding is especially dangerous because for starters you may not even realize you are doing it. This can make stopping very difficult, but it’s definitely important to stop, because grinding your teeth can cause your teeth to crack or chip!
Another stress response that many people do without realizing is clenching their jaw. This can cause problems such as headaches and temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ dysfunction. TMJ dysfunction can make biting, speaking, chewing, and even regular breathing difficult.
Nail-biting may seem harmless, but it can be very dangerous. Not only can it open your fingers up to infection, it can also cause harm to your teeth. That’s because dirt and bacteria from your nails can get in your mouth, increasing the likelihood you could get sick. You can also cut your gums and chip your teeth on your sharp nails, causing more oral health problems.
If you notice that you are feeling more stressed than usual, speak to a mental health professional. Many of us are experiencing more feelings of stress and anxiety these days. If you have questions about your oral health, or notice yourself doing any of the above behaviors, speak to Dr. Abelar today, Dentist in San Deigo.